SuttaCentral

Adding new translations and website layout


#1

Dear admins,

I have used the website suttacentral.net for looking up suttas in the five nikaya. This site is my most favorite discovery recently as I tried to find effective English translation of the suttapitaka. Especially, I am excited for the reference format e.g SN 12.10 (discourse no.10 in samyutta no.12 of the Connected Discourse Collection). This format is super convenient as all translations on the site are consistent with the format, as well as they match other sites’ like dhammatalks.org (Thanissaro Bhikkhu). By referencing “SN 12.10” as an in-text citation, there is no need for a reference list at the end of the written material (posts, essays, etc). This is groundbreaking for me. Thanks the team for that.

I would like to share some suggestions:

1/ About Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation:

I found that the site uses Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation from the website Access to Insight. For example in the section “information” (publication details) near the top-right corner of this page: SuttaCentral

It said “Last revised for Access to Insight on 30 November 2013”.

About Access to Insight ( https://www.accesstoinsight.org/ ):
“Now that John’s interests have moved in another direction, Access to Insight is currently closed to new input. As a result, I have decided to gather my translations of suttas from the Dīgha, Majjhima, Saṁyutta, Aṅguttara, and Khuddaka Nikāyas on Access to Insight, plus new translations of suttas done since the website was frozen, and offer them on this website, dhammatalks.org.” (Regarding accesstoinsight.org | dhammatalks.org)

So I suggest that you may want to update Thanissaro Bhikkhu’s translation from the link: https://www.dhammatalks.org/

2/ About layout of the website suttacentral.net:

First of all, I highly appreciate that Bhikkhu Sujato’s translation is 100% English so far as I read (even for words like Bhikkhu, Tathagata, Dhamma that are kept in pali in other authors’ translation).

From tab menu at the top-left corner: SUTTA/LINKED/Samyuttanikaya
A list of five book appears in pali language, I found this can be difficult for readers to look up a specific discourse cited somewhere outside of the web. For example, when I read an essay that cited “SN 12.10” and I go to suttacentral.net, I have to access SUTTA /LINKED/Samyuttanikaya, then the list of 5 books in pali language confused me a little bit. I used to read suttapitaka in another language so I can regconize SN 12.10 in the samyutta 12 - connected discourses on causation, book 2/5 - book of causation (Nidàna Vaggasamyutta). But for the ones that are new to suttapitaka, I think it is difficult to locate it.

My suggestion is that it would help readers more effectively if you can name all the sections in English (plus pali if you want) because the primary language of the website layout is English. Even someone whose mother tongue is other than English has to understand English when using the website. So why not make it all English? (the same for Anguttaranikaya’s chapter title, eg: "chapter 1: discourses of group “one” " instead of “1. Ekakanipata”).

For the title of 5 books of Connected Discourse Collection, I found that Bhikhhu Bodhi named them:

  • Sagàthà Vaggasamyutta: PART I. The Book with Verses
  • Nidàna Vaggasamyutta: PART II. The Book of Causation
  • Khanda Vaggasamyutta: PART III. The Book of the Aggregates
  • Salàyatana Vaggasamyutta: PART IV. The Book of the Six Sense Bases
  • Mahà Vaggasamyutta: PART V. The Great Book

*Bhikkhu Bodhi 2012, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Anguttara Nikaya, Wisdom Publications.

Thank you for your patience


#2

Greetings Purifiedpalisutta, and welcome :slight_smile:

You can ‘call out’ to an individual to draw their notice to your post, bu putting an @ in front of their name. In this case I’d suggest @sujato


#3

Thanks!

Thanks, we’re happy to do so, but at the moment our resources are stretched thin. If any volunteer wishes to help by preparing the files, we will support them.

I agree, it is a hard problem, and I am not at all satisfied with our current layout.

The problem is that we have sometimes multiple texts and collections of similar names. For example, “Majjhima Nikāya” and “Madhyamāgama”, which basically mean the same thing. If we translate both into English as “Middle Discourses” then how is a reader to tell the difference?

Perhaps we could use a longer translation style, like say “Collection of Middle-Length Discourses” and “Canon of Middle-Length Discourses”. Okay, but first I’m not sure that is any clearer, and second, long titles are problematic in a sidebar, especially when you consider that they have to be translated into multiple languages.

So this is why we have the current, admittedly far from ideal, situation. I will give it more thought, but at the moment I can’t see a simple solution that is obviously superior.


#4

Blockquote

name of the collections like “Majjhima Nikāya” is fine because it is a sub-section of the bigger section like “MIDDLE”. People currently can access easily which collection they wish to. So maybe not 100% English for the sidebar.

I’m talking about the name of sub-sections, like chapter name in Anguttaranikaya. It could be “Chapter 1 (or nipata): group of one” instead of “1. Ekakanipata”.

It could be even better if you can translate the name of vaggas into English. at the list appearing when clicking on tab name of the chapter of Anguttaranikaya.

For example, from list of 11 chapters on the sidebar, clicking on tab “1. Ekakanipata” leads to a list of vaggas that start with “Cittapariyādāna Vagga” (AN 1.1-10). In your translation, this vagga is named “1. SIGHTS, ETC.”. Why not name the same on the list of vaggas plus pali name like you did in, for example, Majjhima Nikāya:

The Root of All Things
Mūlapariyāya Sutta - MN 1 - MN i 1

So, it would be like:
1. Sights, etc. Vagga
Cittapariyādāna Vagga - AN 1.1–10

You can even replace the word “vagga” with English equivalence (“section”, maybe). The list would look better, I think.

Also, for Vietnamese translation by Thích Minh Châu, while majority of discourses I read on SC have the reference number consistent with format SN 12.10 (discourse no.10, samyutta no.12, Connected Discourse Collection). I also found that some discourses don’t match. For example the reference number of AN 7.63 - Thích Minh Châu’s translation, is 59 instead of 63, this is a little confusing. The reference number 59 matches with the version on other websites as they display the same source of Vietnamese translation of the nikaya, all translated by Thích Minh Châu. For instance, website TAM TẠNG PĀLI VIỆT is one of them, and AN 7.63 reference number is also 59 (discourse no.59, chapter 7. group of seven, Anguttara Nikaya).

Another point which also relates to reference number is what I like about SC. SC has consistent reference number that is used by many authors even outside the web. For example, reference number on dhammatalks and other writings by Thanissaro Bhikkhu are basically the same format with SC (some are different, for example Aṅguttara Nikāya: AN 8.63 in SC is AN 8:70 in dhammatalks, I guess it was because SC either didn’t update new and edited translations by Thanissaro Bhikkhu).

This is convenient, for example, when I read an essay by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and he cited MN 118, I can go to both his site and SC with various translators to check what the discourse actually says, compare among different translation, whether he said what the source means.

As for the Vietnamese translation, I noted that SC uses a different reference number (in accordance with format SN 12.50) as compared to other sources of the same translation by Thích Minh Châu. For instance, SN 12.23 of SC is discourse no.23 in samyutta 12 of the Connected Discourse Collection. But on tamtangpaliviet. net, the same discourse (title “Duyên” in both versions) has a reference number of III instead of 23. This is because it (budsas. org/ uni/u-kinh-tuongungbo/tu2-12a.htm) is discourse no.3 in Dasabala Vagga (3. the ten powers) of samyutta 12. So it is placed in order of discourses in a vagga instead of a samyutta. This is confusing as I had used tamtangpaliviet. net before I found that SC also has the same Vietnamese translation but with better reference that is consistent with English translation. So I changed to use SC instead, because it is way easier for me to compare between Vietnamese and English translation on SC. I just want to thank SC for that.

Again, thank you for your response :slight_smile:


#5

In the above reply, I tried to insert the link for each discourse I cited but it said that I can’t insert more than 2 links because I’m new member. It would be better if I can reference as effective as possible, this will help you check the source I cited faster in case you want to.

Thank you :smiley:


#6

Oh, right, yes, I agree that would be better. I will make a report for this and see if we can update. It will take a while, though, as we are pretty busy right now!

This is actually a long-standing problem. In the past, a couple of Vietnamese readers have alerted me to this. But we were never able to get anyone to check the files in detail and correct them for us. I suppose you wouldn’t be able to help us out, would you?


#7

Adjusting Vietnamese title of a discourse to match reference number with the English one is simple.

I struggle with IT :)) but if the technique is simple, I can help you with discourses that I read :smiley:

This issue is mainly in Saṁyutta Nikāya while Aṅguttara Nikāya is better (still some inconsistency, though).

:slight_smile:


#8

If you could help it would be fantastic. Just off the top of your head, how many suttas do you think this affects? A dozen? A hundred? A thousand?

I would like to work with you myself on this, but I am a bit overwhelmed at the moment. @Aminah, do you think we can find a volunteer to help with this?


#9

Oops! Sorry, my bad! I just found that I didn’t make it clear.

I have just checked Saṁyutta Nikāya and Aṅguttara Nikāya in both SC and TAM TẠNG PĀLI VIỆT .

On SC:
I only care about core samyuttas:
12. Nidāna Saṃyutta
22. Khandha Saṃyutta
35. Saḷāyatana Saṃyutta
and some of the Mahā Vaggasaṃyutta:
45. Magga Saṃyutta
46. Bojjhaṅga Saṃyutta
47. Satipaṭṭhāna Saṃyutta
51. Iddhipāda Saṃyutta
54. Ānāpāna Saṃyutta
55. Sotāpatti Saṃyutta
56. Sacca Saṃyutta

All these samyuttas are fine, the reference is mostly consistent. Though there is a bit inconsistency at the last discourses of each samyutta.

Aṅguttara Nikāya has more inconsistency.

Well, I’m rethinking the issue. Is it really a significant issue? Personally, when using SC, even when I read the discourse in Vietnamese, I still know what its SC ID is, by looking at the link that has the code embedded in. For example, AN 7.63, although the Vietnamese title said “(IX) (59) Các Người Vợ”, and the reference number 59 in Vietnamese translation, I looked at the link https:// suttacentral. net /an7.63/ vi/minh_chau, I still knew it is discourse no.63, chapter 7. group of seven, Aṅguttara Nikāya.

So yeah, it may look inconsistent but is it a significant issue?

Also, I can’t go through all discourses now. I used to and found that discourses are repetitive, so no need to read all of them.

The thing that I care most is the map of the path to release that is purified from nikayas. I would reject anything irrelevant to the four noble truths because they are not essential for release. Things like: deva (celestial beings), ghost (peta?!), hell, Brahma, realms like sensual world, form world, formless world, Buddhas before Gautama Buddha, prediction of the future Buddha, and even life of the Buddha before he sat down under the Bodhi tree and began the middle path. These things have nothing to do with release and not practical for those who seek release.

I would suggest that those who want to study about release may read the first 3 nikayas: Majjhima Nikāya, Saṁyutta Nikāya, Dīgha Nikāya (recommended reading in this order). These nikayas contain all core teachings about release.

Aṅguttara Nikāya and Khuddaka Nikāya have little on the four noble truths and things that are actually part of the four noble truths: dependent-origination, four establishings of mindfulness, four right exertions, four bases of power, five faculties, five strengths, seven factors for awakening, the noble eightfold path (the fourth truth), 5 clinging aggregates, 6 sense base.

Aṅguttara Nikāya and Khuddaka Nikāya are more like morality-oriented, simpler than profound teachings in the first 3 nikayas.

For ones that have little time to study, I think they can start with Majjhima Nikāya, then some of Saṁyutta Nikāya (samyuttas that I listed above), and then some of Dīgha Nikāya.

Reference: https://goo.gl/rBf3i6


#10

Okay, well, no problems, I guess we just leave it on the 2-do list for now.